In this guest column, CEO of community management company Quiip, Alison Michalk (pictured below), says brands don’t need to spend big dollars to use Facebook to engage customers…
That thing fundamental to community and missing in most social media — many-to-many conversations.
Facebook’s push messaging has dwindled to a near zero organic reach rate, which has demanded brands increase their budgets to reach their audiences.
The fact that brands can now foster active and thriving spaces that don’t require the advertising budgets of pages is a huge opportunity. But don’t get carried away — you’ll need to divert that money into active community management!
The newest development will allow pages to interact with groups as pages, rather than a personal profile which is the current option and not viable for most organsations.
Whilst Facebook groups are currently very limited in their features, we can expect this to improve, with the much-needed ability to create sub-sections or sub-forums coming soon. In January Social Media Today reported that some groups had the ability to have sub-sections, seen here but we’re yet to see that appear in our much-loved Australian Community Managers group – ping Facebook!
Tips for starting a group
It’s not something to jump into without careful consideration. If you let the group grow rapidly without the right governance in place you’re in for a challenge.
Here are our tips for establishing a Facebook community:
- Establish a clear internal objective for the community along with a realistic timeframe for the community to be established. Avoid calling it a pilot or trial as axing it after 3-months is not an ideal scenario for you or your customers.
- Have a clear plan about where community ownership sits in your organisation and how various stakeholders will participate and on what terms.
- Establish clear boundaries around membership. Is it for customers only? How will you approve members and determine their eligibility?
- Do not create a community without clear guidelines on what will and will not be tolerated by your community. Create a risk and escalation framework for dealing with all potential issues. Include PR/comms team and anyone you might need to pull in urgently. Do not surprise them!
- Plan for scale. Unless you have hours and hours spare in your current role, consider resources for community admins or volunteers.
- Create a content plan to foster discussion and showcase the type of content the group is centered around (but be willing to listen to customers as they’re bound to have their own wishes!)
- Dedicate time to actively manage and nurture your new group. Making retroactive changes is very difficult once a culture and norms become established.
Alison Michalk is CEO of leading community management company Quiip and Co-Founder of Swarm, Australia’s premier community management conference – 30-31 August, Sydney.